Top Ten Tuesday: Road Trip

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

May 23: Summer Reads Freebie

I’ve done the beach reads and most of the books wouldn’t have changed from that list so this year I’m going to do a different type of summer reads TTT list.  Being a fairly recent convert to audiobooks I’m going to pick ten audiobooks that I’ve listened to to suggest for your next road trip!  Warning, some of these might not be child-friendly.

Ten audiobooks for your next road trip.

  1. The Martian 10 Hours 59 Minutes:  One of my favorite books makes it back on the list.  Haven’t seen this one in a while.  I actually listened to this on my trip to BEA last year and it was great!  Lots of swear words so maybe not for pre-teen listeners.
  2. The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1) 15 Hours 43 Minutes: This was a fun thriller/government conspiracy story that will provide some entertainment and conversation for those who already believe the government has too much power and is too involved in our lives.
  3. The Long Earth (The Long Earth, #1) 11 Hours 31 Minutes: Great science fiction book about multiple earths and the consequences of what happens to society when people are no longer owned by their government.
  4. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1) 8 Hours 28 Minutes: Another science fiction listen that works better as an audiobook than it did in print for me.  Multiple narrators and written as a series of released government documents.
  5. By Blood 14 Hours 4 minutes: A kind of creepy tale about a gentleman eavesdropping on a therapist session and becoming overly involved in the patient’s life.
  6. War of the Worlds: Invasion from Mars 1 Hour 2 Minutes: A short classic story narrated by Star Trek actors.  Lots of fun!
  7. A Dirty Job (Grim Reaper, #1) 11 Hours 47 Minutes: Quite a bit of swearing in this one too but lots of humor as well.
  8. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)7 Hours 41 Minutes: This was an interesting story with a paranormal twist.  Reminded me a bit of The Da Vinci Code with lots of puzzles and secret society.
  9. Saturn Run 16 Hours 35 Minutes: Another Science Fiction, a space opera this time.  This was a great adventure piece that did not give me hope that the human race will change its stripes anytime soon.
  10. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions6 Hours 36 Minutes: One non-fiction book for the list.  This book is full of crazy circumstances that the author works our the logic for what would happen.  For example: What if there was no moon?  What if everyone on the planet jumped up at once?  This book is probably the most kid friendly on the list and would provide great conversation starters when it is time to stop and eat.

There you have my list for the week.  What audiobooks do you think would make great road trip listens?  Share in the comments!

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the FallBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Novella, Time Travel

Book Series: N/A

Released: 4/1/2012 by Tachyon Publications

Pages: 189  Price:$14.95 paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The year is 2035. After ecological disasters nearly destroyed the Earth, 26 survivors—the last of humanity—are trapped by an alien race in a sterile enclosure known as the Shell.

Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the Six—children who were born deformed or sterile and raised in the Shell. As, one by one, the survivors grow sick and die, Pete and the Six struggle to put aside their anger at the alien Tesslies in order to find the means to rebuild the earth together. Their only hope lies within brief time-portals into the recent past, where they bring back children to replenish their disappearing gene pool.

Meanwhile, in 2013, brilliant mathematician Julie Kahn works with the FBI to solve a series of inexplicable kidnappings. Suddenly her predictive algorithms begin to reveal more than just criminal activity. As she begins to realize her role in the impending catastrophe, simultaneously affecting the Earth and the Shell, Julie closes in on the truth. She and Pete are converging in time upon the future of humanity—a future which might never unfold.

Weaving three consecutive time lines to unravel both the mystery of the Earth’s destruction and the key to its salvation, this taut post-apocalyptic thriller offers a topical plot with a satisfying twist.

My Review:

Such an interesting little book.  I recommended this to my library when I noticed we needed a fresh influx of science fiction and am so glad I did.  Upon closer inspection of my Goodreads account, I see that this is the second book I’ve read by this author.  Much of what I thought about her writing of the other story holds true for this one.  This is a smart thought-provoking science fiction story that captures your attention and keeps you turning the page.

The story unfolds in a way I don’t think I’ve encountered before.  We jump back and forth in time around a critical event in human history.  Obviously, something awful has happened to the human race and all that survive are locked inside this shell as someone or something is caring for them in an effort to save the human race from extinction.  As the story progresses we see that the survivors can jump back in time to get supplies and what is essentially new breeding stock.

Of course, it isn’t until the end where we learn what really happen to earth and humanity but the story did leave me with some questions unanswered.  The story was a race to figure out what happen and what will happen to the last timeline and the future of all of the human race.  The characters, while interesting, if not annoying from time to time, were not what kept me in this story.  The mystery and need to know why and how held me to the end.  Having finished it I’m glad I read it.  Not a terribly big surprise as to how it played out but I can see why it is an award-winning story.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Sleeping Giant by Sylvain Neuvel

Book Review

 


Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Audio Book

Book Series: Themis Files #1

Released: 4/26/16 by Del Rey

Pages:304  Price: $26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.  

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

My Review:

This is actually my second attempt at this book.  I was approved for an Arc when it was released last year and DNF the book because I found it too dry.  The story is made up of a bunch of case files recounting events of the plot after they had happened.  Just not something I could get into in print.  Now the audiobook is a whole other matter and the actors narrating the story made all the difference.  This version I could get into and was able to finish the book. I even think I’ll stick around for book two.

The book was a little slow to start with most of the action happening in the past tense.  The classified documents only giving small glimpses of what is happening through interviews and debriefing.  I think the book could have worked better for me if it had been more action as the events unfolded with a few case files mixed in with background information.  However, when listening to the book the actors do a great job of animating the story and giving perspective and life to the story through the emotion that comes through in their voice.  They truly saved this book for me.  Livened up what was a pretty dry read in print.  I applaud the choice of having a different actor for each character in the story.

Once I was able to get past my hang-ups the story is quite enthralling.  Space, aliens, mystery, secret government agencies, drama, mad scientists.  This story had quite a bit going for it I just wish it hadn’t all been told past-tense.  I will continue with the next book has its hooks in me and I want to see how things play out.  I will probably stick to the audio format.  If you struggled with this book like I had I highly suggest giving the audiobook a try before giving up completely.  It really does help give life to the plot.

My Rating:4 Stars

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Book Review

 


The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Political

Book Series: The interdependency #1

Released: 3/21/17

Pages:336  Price: $25.99 hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this book from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man’s War.

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible — until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war — and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal — but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals — a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency — are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

My Review:

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this but I’m DNF a Scalzi book.  I am on page 178, for future reference if I decide to try again, and am just struggling to get into this story.  I made it halfway through the book and just don’t care.  I don’t want to read another page and it is dragging down my reading groove so this is where I part ways with this book.  Not the author because I still think he is brilliant but this book is simply not what I’m looking for.  I know that many of you love it so please don’t send hate mail/comment, let’s keep the pitchforks to ourselves, shall we.

The book started off slow with not enough background information to help you figure out what was going on.  Like another reviewer stated it was if you were picking up a story already in progress and nobody was going to catch you up.  Also, way too political for me right now.  A government controlled by corporations IS our reality!  I read to escape and this was no escape.  Of what I read it was about the haves lording over the have-nots and I just don’t want to read that right now.

I’m sure Scalzi is making some great parallels to our society which is what great fiction does but I don’t have the patience to wait for the come-up-ins.  I also struggled to identify with any of the characters or even find one to root for.  They felt flat or wishy-washy.  I wanted someone to grab me and give me a reason to keep reading.  None of the characters managed that.  Quite frankly I don’t care what happens to any of them.  I would be curious to learn how humans ended up in this multi-planet system but it was never explained thoroughly and it didn’t feel like Scalzi was going to bring us back to why we left Earth in the first place.

Kind of disappointed but oh well.  I wish I had figured out sooner that it wasn’t a good fit and given up a week ago.  I’m not giving up on Scalzi, however.  There are still books of his I want to read but this series… I think I’ll pass.  Thanks.

My Rating:DNF

Of Cats and Men by Sam Kalda

Book Review

 


Of Cats and Men: Profiles of History's Great Cat-loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers, and StatesmenBook Genre: Non-fiction, History

Book Series: N/A

Released: 4/2017 by Ten Speed Press

Pages: 101  Price: $16.oo Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Bio, More Info

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program for an honest review.

Book Synopsis:

A stylish, illustrated gift book from an award-winning artist that profiles notable cat-loving men throughout history in words and pictures.

Of Cats and Men presents a fresh approach to cat entertainment that’s smart, sweet, and driven by beautiful art (instead of tacky photography, as many cat books are). Appealing to both men and women, the “cat men” approach is a fun twist on the “cat lady” stereotype and makes for a highly giftable book. The 30 men profiled range from writers and artists such as Haruki Murakami, T.S. Eliot, William S. Burroughs, and Ai Weiwei, to historical luminaries such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nikola Tesla, and Sir Issac Newton. In addition to the portraits, the book features beautifully hand-lettered quotes about cats by some of the men, including Twain’s “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”

My Review:

The synopsis is pretty spot on for this book.  It is a charming little gift or coffee table book featuring profiles of famous cat-loving men throughout history.  Many of them you will know but some might be surprising.  The book is handsomely illustrated and features quotes from many of the men profiled in the book.

The book isn’t very long and would make a great gift for the cat man or woman in your life.  I have been fortunate to share my home one and might save my copy for him for Father’s Day.  After all, our cats are our children and he might appreciate the recognition and to see what great company he keeps.

Not a lot more to say.  It was a quick read and of exceptional quality printing wise. I liked it but wasn’t overly excited about it.  It was interesting but nothing profound inside its pages.  I still think it is a tad overpriced at $16.00 but at least you get something worthy of giving.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Recommend to my Mom

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

May 16:  Mother’s Day related Freebie: favorite moms in literature, books about motherhood, best mother/daughter or son relationships, books to buy your mom, worst moms in literature, etc. etc.

Okay, I was totally going to do this Anti-Mother’s Day rant.  All about how I HATE this holiday from the standpoint of someone who lost her mother at a young age and as someone who has chosen a Child-Free life.  Then I started looking at my book lists and tried to figure out what defines an anti-Mother’s Day book.  Sigh… I relented and changed my mind.  Enough.  I don’t need to get preachy just because I don’t like the faux holiday.  Instead, I am going to go through my books and pick out ten books I would recommend to my mother if she were still alive.  I am going to pick out ten titles she could read that would help her truly grasp who I am.

Ten books that would help my departed mother know who I became.

  1. The Martian Let’s start with probably my favorite book overall.  Or at least the one I recommend the most.  Through this book, my mother might learn of my love of science fiction and of being a smart-ass.  Also get a glimpse into my swearing habit.  Also, it is just a phenomenal read and I would hope she likes it.
  2. Redshirts I believe I’ve mentioned before that part of my love of all things Trek has to do with my memories of watching Star Trek with my Mom as a child.  So, of course, I’m going to recommend she read this great parody of the beloved series.  Also another great read.
  3. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) I thought about recommending Twilight, which is the book I credit with introducing me to paranormal fiction.  This is a better read, however, and I would recommend this book for her to glean insight into my love of Vampires and Shifters and Magic oh, my!
  4. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) While this is also a paranormal read I thought this was a great way to introduce my mother to my love of quick-wit and romance.  Also, I love this series and would hope that she would love it too.
  5. The Time Traveler's Wife Okay, taking a turn here.  This book left me ruined.  I still can’t think of the ending of this book without breaking into tears.  I. Just. Got. It.  I would recommend this title to my mother so she could better understand what I went through losing her and how you put your life on hold waiting for someone to return.  Not that is possible in my case, but one still waits for those moments where a lost loved one could have been a part of your life.  A moment they should have been there for, or something you both went through.  It is about connections and having a way to hold on to them is any way possible.
  6. Crack in the Curtain I would also recommend the book my husband wrote to my mother.  It is a work of fiction, I know, but it would be a way to better understand the man I married.
  7. Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints Hand in hand with #6 is this book on Traveling to Turkey.  Unfortunately, the current political world means we might never be able to return but I love Turkey and this book might help my mother understand my love of traveling there.
  8.  Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice I am childless by choice, also sometimes referred to as Child-free.  I would hope that reading this would help my mother understand my reasoning for not reproducing.
  9. Your Soul's Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born I do not believe in organized religion. At all.  I do believe in something more, though.  This book would help explain these beliefs and why I know my mother does not wait in “heaven”  She has moved onto her next life and someday our paths will cross again.  If not in this existence than in the next.
  10. Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn I love living in the country, growing food, having critters, having space.  I would recommend this book to my mother so she might understand this aspect of my life.

 

This week’s list wasn’t what I had originally planned but I think it worked out pretty good.  I didn’t resent the topic as much as I thought I would.  I also found it interesting to search my read list for titles that represented me.

Monday Morning Check-In: I survived…

Good Monday morning everyone I hope you had a great weekend and got in more reading than I did.  Yes, it was another busy weekend with plenty of yard work that has convinced my muscles to revolt and scream in pain when I move.  You see I’m terribly out of shape after my surgery in January and being lazy by nature I haven’t been working to rectify that.  So now that it is nicer weather and growing season has started I find myself exhausted.  We did manage to get in most of the garden and plant some flower beds. We also moved the chickens to their new more secure home.  Good thing too because the raccoon found the porch last night and trashed it, the chickens were living there temporarily.  So, like I said not a lot of reading last weekend.  I’m not into the audiobook I downloaded and I hate to say it but I’m not really digging the latest Scalzi release either.  So disappointed in that one.  I’ll finish it but it just isn’t exciting me.  I’m kind of glad I didn’t buy it.  Well, I have another day of chores on tap so there might not be a lot of reading today either.  I need to mow, run to town, list on eBay, and do some gardening.  Oy, I’m tired already.  Have a great week and happy reading!

Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here by Christine Warren

Book Review

 


Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here (The Others #3)Book Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Audiobook, 

Book Series: The Others #3

Released: 11/2/10

Pages:368  Price: $7.99 by St. Martin’s Press

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Danice Carter is not one for glass slippers. A stilettos-wearing lawyer at one of Manhattan’s most elite establishments, Danice has a very strong grip on reality. So when she’s asked by one the firm’s founding partners to take on a personal case, Danice knows she’s in for the opportunity of a lifetime. All she has to do is convince her top boss’s granddaughter, Rosemary, to file a paternity suit. Sounds simple enough…until Danice arrives at Rosemary’s home and is pounced on by a handsome stranger.

Private investigator McIntyre Callahan’s was only following his powerful client’s orders: Find Rosemary—at all costs. Instead, he’s found a super-hot lawyer prowling around looking for answers he can’t give. The half-human, half-Fae Mac tries to warn Danice that she’s way in over her head—that Rosemary may roam among The Others, and may have dangerous ties to the Unseelie Court—but she won’t be deterred. Even if that means following Mac to the ends of the earth to find Rosemary… or surrendering to his supernatural powers of temptation… until death do they part.

My Review:

I think I’m done.  This is the last book offered through my library in audio format but beyond that, I’m done with series.  It just isn’t working for me and it is time to move on. I have about an hour left to listen to in this book and I don’t even want to finish it.

Most of my problem with this book in the series has to do with that the plot revolves around the Fae.  I’ve never been a fan of the Fae in paranormal stories.  Most of the time they tend to be shallow, easily offended, and only out for themselves.  None of these characteristics describe a race of beings that I want to spend any time with.  Essentially they are the mean girls of the paranormal world.  The plot was also pretty weak and the point I’m at currently makes me want to smack all the characters and tell them to grow up.  Danice needs to get over herself.  Mac is just not all that charismatic and the granddaughter is a spoiled brat.  Ugh.  Why am I listening to this?

I’m just not thrilled with this world.  It focuses too much on the sex and too little on the plot.  So I’m done.

My Rating:1 Star

Top Ten Tuesday: I Wish.

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

May 9: Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist

This week’s list is fairly appropriate for me as I am once again longing for a great new series to dive into.  So this week I am simply going to share ten aspects of a story that I think will scratch my reading itch.

Ten book characteristics I want in my next great read.

  1. Great Setting: I would LOVE a great setting, that I’m familiar with, for my next great read.  I love it when the location is almost like another character in the book because if I’ve been there I can totally place myself in the world so much easier.  Plus it is almost like you have a fun inside track to the world you are reading.  Locations I’m currently seeking; Chicago, Iowa, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Minnesota.
  2. Not too technical but still accurate: One thing I loved about The Martian was all the accurate science involved in telling the story.  I would love for my next science fiction read to be like that but dumbed down enough that I can get most of it.
  3. Sex but not too much sex: I am an unashamed reader of romance and I like the steamy parts.  BUT that doesn’t mean I want the characters to be constantly jumping each other’s bones.  I want a good plot too.  So I want some sex but am willing to give that up for a better plot.
  4. Witty Dialog: Some of my favorite series came with smart-ass characters that were quick with a one-liner.  So I would love my next great series to have a little sass in the dialog.
  5. Fun Sidekick: I don’t mind a story that focuses all the attention on the two key characters but when you throw in an amazing supporting cast then the book is usually even better.
  6. Alpha Male: Goes along with #3.  In books, I don’t mind a strong alpha male that has a bit of caveman mentality.  Usually, it is a great premise for hijinks as the strong female drives him up the wall.  Plus I kind of enjoy seeing them get schooled when the female shows them they are just as capable as they are.
  7. Alpha Female: Part of the reason I don’t care for historical romance is I’m not a fan of weak females.  Sorry, I know it is probably a stereotype but too often the plot in those books revolves around a woman’s role in society.  Not interested.  I want a female that is equal to her male counterparts.  I don’t mind them being physically weaker than the males but I don’t want the entire book to be about saving the female from danger.  I want her to get her hands dirty and kick some ass too.
  8. Realistic love: Now I am pretty accepting of instant romance.  I usually don’t find it annoying in paranormal or urban fantasy books where you already have to suspend reality to enjoy the plot.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want some challenges for my main couple to overcome.  They need to work for their H.E.A. too.
  9. Good Vs. Evil: I love sinking my teeth into a good battle of good vs evil.  Part of why I enjoy dystopian books when we aren’t currently living in a dystopian society…
  10. Plot Twists:  To finish off my list I would love for my next read to have some great plot twists that I don’t see coming.  Not too difficult as I usually don’t figure things out.

There you have what I am looking for in my next great read if you know of any science fiction, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance that fits the bill or comes close feel free to share in the comments!  No YA, please.

Star Trek Boldly Go by Mike Johnson

Book Review

 


Star Trek: Boldly Go #1Book Genre: Science Fiction, Comic

Book Series: Boldly Go #1

Released: 10/19/2016

Pages: 22 Price: $3.99 IDW Publishing

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this comic

 

 

Book Synopsis:

STAR TREK’s 50th Anniversary Celebration continues with this all-new series following the adventures of Captain Kirk and the iconic crew! New worlds! New species! New ships! And a new danger unlike anything the Federation has encountered before! Boldly go into a new era of STAR TREK!

My Review:

Saturday May 6th was Free Comic Book Day 2017.  I happen to be in a bookstore that was giving away some comics and had some on clearance.  I picked up the free Star Trek one set in The Next Generation world and this one that takes place after the last movie releases on the Kelvin timeline with the new cast setting off for life post-Enterprise.  I’m not much of a comic reader but I enjoyed this so much that I can’t wait to get my hand on the next five copies to find out what happens next.  I’m not in a big rush, however, so I might check the local stores first before I download them all from the publisher’s website.  I wouldn’t mind having physical copies of these but will settle for digital.

The story was quite good, the graphics a little less.  I’m reading it for plot so it didn’t bother me that some of the characters looked a bit off, Uhura being the lest resembling the current actor portraying the character.  Major cliffhanger at the end that sucked me in and frustrated me to no end that the comic was only 22 pages long.  So it looks like I might be a new convert to these graphic novels even if it is just the Star Trek ones.

My Rating: 5 Stars